161 : Andrew Bogle 1802-1877. Jamaican in Britain & Australia
* Suggested and contributed by Kathy Chater, whose Untold Histories: Black People in England and Wales during the period of the British slave trade, c 1660-1807 (Manchester University Press, 2009) has been issued as a paperback.
Andrew Bogle was a servant in the household of the Tichborne family and played a major part in one of the longest and most controversial trials of the 19th century. Born a slave in Jamaica in the early 1800s, he lived on the Hope Estate owned by the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. At the age of 25 he was taken to England by the estate manager, Edward Tichborne. He became his valet and accompanied his master and his new bride on their honeymoon in Europe. On their return to England the Tichbornes (they changed their name to Doughty to benefit from an inheritance) settled in Upton Park near Poole in Dorset. Bogle worked there for more than a decade and like them, became a Catholic.
In 1836 Bogle married another servant, a nurse named Elizabeth Young. They had two sons (John, 1837; Andrew, 1838). Elizabeth died in 1845. That year Edward Doughty inherited the baronetcy of Tichborne from his elder brother, and moved to Tichborne House Park, Arlesford (Hampshire) and Bogle moved with him. Sir Edward died in 1853. Bogle wanted to retire and requested an annual pension of £50 that had been promised. Edward’s will did not mention this but his widow agreed. In 1854 Bogle married a local schoolteacher (Jane Fisher) and emigrated to Sydney, Australia with both sons. He ran a restaurant, John became a chemist and young Andrew was a barber-hairdresser. Two more sons were born in Australia: one died in infancy.
Sir Edward had left no surviving son and so his title went to his brother James Tichborne and in 1862 to James’s son Alfred. Alfred’s older brother (Roger) had been lost at sea off Brazil in 1854. His mother continued to hope he had survived, and advertised in Australian newspapers. In 1866 a man came forward from Wagga Wagga, claiming he was the long-lost Roger Tichborne. This man was to be called the Tichborne Claimant. Grossly obese and unable to speak French although Roger had been slim and raised in France, the Claimant sailed to England in 1866 with Bogle and Australian-born Henry Bogle. The Tichborne family believed the fat man was an imposter but the dowager countess and a distant cousin recognised him as the long-lost Roger.
Bogle who was to remain in England for the rest of his life, is listed in the 1871 census as the butler to ‘Roger Tichborne’, born in Jamaica and aged 63. There were four other servants at the Brompton, London address. A photograph of Bogle at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from around 1873, shows Bogle in a butler-like pose. The Claimant instigated civil proceedings to gain the title and property. In 1873 he was charged with perjury. The trial was the longest to date, lasting 188 days and involving 215 witnesses. Bogle was one of main witnesses for the defence. He denied he had told the Claimant the inside information that had enabled him to give convincing details about the family and Tichborne Park House. It was determined that the Claimant was one Arthur Orton, a butcher originally from Wapping in London. He was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment, and two witnesses were also sentenced but the judge said that Bogle was an honest man who had been deceived. The pension had been stopped but the judge urged the family to restore it, and in the face of public obloquy they did.
The matter did not stop there. Many were convinced that Orton was Roger Tichborne, and had been cruelly treated. Meetings were held — Bogle spoke at them — and support was sought to re-open the case. Money was collected to continue the campaign and to give Bogle an allowance. But he was in poor circumstances, and after he died at 74 Argyle Street in the St Pancras district of London in 1877, aged 74, he was buried in a common grave (no headstone) in St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery on 17 February 1877. A story that on his deathbed he had confessed that Orton was a fake was published in a newspaper but firmly denied by his son, who had been present, and by Henry Beckett Harding the secretary to the Tichborne Release Association, which supported Orton’s claim. Andrew Bogle never stopped believing that Roger Tichborne had survived the shipwreck.
What happened to the three sons of Bogle is untraced. The Claimant died in 1898.
The information in this page comes from Joy Lumsden’s ‘The True and Remarkable History of Andrew Bogle’ on http://jamaica-history.weebly.com/andrew-bogle.html, with additional research by Kathy Chater.
See also Rohan McWilliam, The Tichborne Claimant. A Victorian Sensation (2006).